Monday, June 13, 2005

"Fellini called the film an 'apocalyptic poem.'"

I'm working my way through Camille Paglia's, um, painstakingly-detailed, shot-by-shot analysis of The Birds. Don't get me wrong, it's an enjoyable and impressive piece of work-- but it's slow going.
To give you an example, here's an excerpt describing Melanie's (Tippi Hedren) reaction to that initial seagull attack. It's an important, symbolic moment... and Ms. Paglia isn't about to let you forget it:
Hitchcock has wonderfully choreographed it, so that as Melanie gasps (the bird's cry seems to speak for her), her right hand flies to her forehead while she makes a spasmodic, angular motion with her raised left-arm that is half-kabuki, half-Martha Graham. The whole thing has the assymetrical beauty of a chance gesture in Degas. The blow causes a collapse of social forms, like the portentious, grinding fracture of the stone baluster in Last Year at Marienbad (1961).

See? One gesture gave us that. But it's impressive, no? I wish I had the screen capture because the woman is dead-on. And mind you this follows a paragraph wherein she invokes Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs, the etymology of the worst 'ascot,' Cleopatra sailing into the Cydnus, and the Mona Lisa. (And just to be a completist, that excerpt precedes a paragraph that namedrops Lady Macbeth, Un Chien Andalou and Vertigo.)
Again: impressive, highly recommended, but a lot to digest.

1 Comments:

At 11:44 PM, Blogger wbrant said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a the set of the sun macbeth site/blog. It pretty much covers the set of the sun macbeth related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

 

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